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Lightelligence Raises $10M To Build 'Nano-Photonic' AI Hardware

The startup builds technology based on photonic, rather than electronic principles, for improved performance in the cloud and edge devices.

February 2, 2018

1 Min Read

CAMBRIDGE, Ma. -- Lightelligence is an MIT-spinoff company working on next-generation AI hardware. They are announcing seed round financing around $10M, backed by top VC investors and leading industry technologists.

Lightelligence is developing nano-photonics based technology to accelerate artificial intelligence computation and more broadly information processing by leveraging the power of light – namely, ultra low latency, high throughput and extremely high power efficiency.

The technology was developed at MIT after years of research in nanophotonics, deep learning and optical computing. The founding team includes world-renowned professors, Ph.Ds, experienced entrepreneurs and industry veterans in the field of semiconductors and consumer electronics.

Lightelligence will license the technology exclusively from MIT Technology Licensing Office. The patents were filed when the founding team worked as researchers at MIT. The patents outline the foundation of the technology and cover the fundamental principal, component design, system design and algorithms.

What makes Lightelligence's technology unique?

What makes the technology unique is the implementation of AI computing on a novel architecture based on photonic circuit, rather than electronic circuit. This is the world's first realization of deep learning neural network computing in a photonic integrated circuit. The technology was first published in Nature Photonics mid-2017 as a cover story, followed by a series of research articles about novel neuron network algorithms inspired by this hardware innovation.

There are many areas where Lightelligence's technology enjoys superior performance over competitors. On the cloud, their technology works as a co-processor to CPUs to accelerate deep learning training and inference. On edge devices, Lightelligence can develop powerful yet extremely low power systems to satisfy their stringent power requirement (e.g. drones).

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